Glossary of legal, mortgage and real estate terms in Spain
This glossary includes some Spanish words which will be useful in buying property and mortgaging or remortgaging in Spain. You will encounter some of these words at various times throughout the purchase and Spanish mortgage process. Buying Spanish property is a serious business, and even if you don't speak Spanish, if you learn the basic concepts you will feel more confident as you go through the procedure of buying your house and obtaining a mortgage in Spain.

Spanish term

English term


Spanish Lawyer

Administrador de Fincas

Licensed property administrator

Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API)

Property agent (although most agents that you encounter will be unregistered in Spain )


Depreciation. Redemption. The process of your mortgage in Spain reducing over time as you repay it. Use our mortgage calculator.


Down payment, deposit. If you are non-resident you will probably need to allow for 30% of the property price, plus around 12% for the costs and taxes


Guarantee requested by the bank to approve a mortgage application

Caja de ahorros

Savings bank. Translates to "Box of Saving". Similar in operation and aims as traditional UK building societies.


Charges. Burden. Such as an existing mortgage or other loan or charge. When buying a property in Spain the mortgage bank will always check to see if there are any other charges on the property.

Certificado registral

Certificate informing about debts of a specific property. The debts will be registered at the land registry. There may be a mortgage debt, but it could also include such debts as personal loans, income tax owed, fines etc etc



Comunidad de propietarios

Community of property owners, such as on an apartment development.

Contrato de Compraventa

Private property sales contract. The buyer pays a 10% deposit and the contract is signed by buyer and vendor. You will need to supply a copy of this when applying for your mortgage in Spain

Documento privado

Private document

Documento público

Public document



Escritura pública de compraventa

Title Deed


Euro Interbank Offered Rate


Estate or farm. May refer to a large area that has been used for a large development, or a smaller individual property.


Firm specialised in obtaining official authorisations, permits, licences etc. Often employed by banks to handle the paperwork pertaining to a mortgage in Spain .



Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles

Yearly property tax

Impuesto sobre el Incremento del Valor de los Terrenos

Tax on the increase of land value


Estate agent

IBI: Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles

Annual real estate tax

Impuesto sobre el patrimonio

Capital gains tax

Incremento de patrimonio

Capital gain

Libre de cargas

Free of debts

Libro del edificio

Documents which must be handed over by the promoter when building is finished.

Licencia de obra

Building permission


Identity Number for Foreigners. This will be needed before you complete on your property and mortgage in Spain .


Notary. You must go to the Notary office in order to sign for your property and mortgage in Spain .

Nota simple

Certificate from Property Registry. This is the extract of the title deeds of a property, which has all the basic relevant information, such as size of plot and buildings, existing mortgages and other charges etc etc

Obra nueva

Document certifying a brand new building

Oferta vinculante

Bank document certifying the exact mortgage conditions

Pago en efectivo

Cash payment


Plot of land


Flat or apartment


Power of attorney. If you are not able to come to Spain to complete your property purchase or mortgage, you may give power of attorney to your lawyer, or another trusted party, to act on your behalf.

Préstamo con techo

Loan with variable interests with fixed minimum and maximum

Préstamo hipotecario

Mortgage loan

Plusvalía Municipal

Capital gains tax on the sale of property

Registro de la Propiedad

Property ownership Register

Representante fiscal

Official tax representative of foreigner

Residencia (permiso)

Residency (permit)



Se vende

For sale

Seguro de amortización de préstamos

Loan repayment insurance

Seguro Multirriesgo Hogar

House insurance


Deposit, down payment


Independent valuation of property. With a Spanish Mortgage the bank will normally appoint their own valuer from a panel. This will provide the basis on which they will approve your mortgage in Spain .


Plot of land

Tipo de interés

Rate of interest. Normally a margin above the Euribor rate. 

Título de propiedad

Deeds stating the ownership of property, date of sale etc.

Valor Catastral

Assessed value of property for tax purposes

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